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Data Protection for HCI

Simplified infrastructure is driving a requirement for deep data protection integration...

Written on: Feb 18, 2021 9:01:29 AM

Written by: Alex Raben


[Data Management, COOLSPIRiT]

Remember when the term hyperconverged infrastructure was first banded around the industry?

For many years before it was, we'd been familiar with software-defined infrastructure, where vendors utilised their software to glue together hardware from different vendors and build a customer's data storage stack. Hyperconverged infrastructure went one step further and offered consolidation of hardware with easy management - music to the ears of many IT teams across the globe...

Introduced to the world around 10 years ago, I know for sure that when COOLSPIRiT researched the market place to include a Hyperconverged vendor in our solutions portfolio, there were a plethora of options available back then - a list that has significantly slimmed down today - either through acquisitions or simply stronger products taking the crown.

According to recent reports, the global hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) market size is expected to grow from USD 7.8 billion in 2020 to USD 27.1 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 28.1% during the forecast period (source: marketsandmarkets.com, also Businesswire).

Hyperconverged solutions promise simplicity and ease of operations by merging core elements of data centre infrastructure, such as compute, storage, networking and management into a single platform needed to support applications. Examples include Dell EMC VxRail, Nutanix HCI, Cisco HyperFlex and VMware vSAN, to name but four. What was once typically deployed as a side or emerging project, has now become central to many data centre operations in recent years. We've also seen the rise in sophistication of industry-leading HCI solutions as vendors seek to differentiate themselves and show additional value - something that is constantly evolving every day. For example, we now see HCI solutions offering seamless (or near seamless) points of integration with wider cloud services and broad application integration.

Customers are truly experiencing tangible benefits from HCI solution deployments… the ease of operations and simplicity in management, coupled with the ease of scaling, makes this a clear choice for many organisations. But as always we should not take our eye away from the wider operational considerations such as data protection and data security. These new platforms are still running and hosting our critical applications; which always require protection, but now being on different underlying infrastructure, these principles still need adhering to. Extending a data protection/security solution into a HCI solution should not require a significant change (although extending the security reach into a completely virtualised networked environment might need additional thought). The core principles of ensuring business continuity through access to the data and proving robust backup capability should never be overlooked when deploying new HCI infrastructure, even when some vendors may suggest they have this area covered out of the box ...

The industry is moving towards tighter integration of key components – after all, the benefits of infrastructure consolidation teach us that simplification is good. Some technology companies embed data protection capabilities into primary or secondary storage platforms. Others utilise a secondary platform for multiple purposes, one of which may be data protection. The industry is looking to offer multiple avenues to re-purpose investment into these solutions, but whichever way you go, it is clear that deeper integration of such technologies supports the overall drive to simplification, which in turn drives down costs and increases value for us all.

The future is clear: Hyperconverged infrastructure solutions are here to stay and HCI vendors continue to develop and offer more integrated capabilities. 

In the areas of data protection/security and building upon what is available today, we're more likely to see additional options emerge soon as these technologies become even closer connected, with the push for simplification creating the momentum for this - for example, Nutanix's Mine and the opportunity for backup software vendors to be accredited and operate directly within the beating heart of a customer's HCI stack - offering true next-generation infrastructure protection.

Just imagine, in the not too distant future, we will have primary HCI platforms, tightly integrated with the functions of data protection and security - and then when we extend this thought process to the hybrid cloud model the future suddenly gets very interesting indeed... But, not forgetting data protection at all stages, wherever your data resides!

As with any data protection solution you may consider, it is important to have the correct features to protect your HCI environment, which amongst others, includes:

  • Data protection for all files and services you run - not just those on the HCI platform
  • A single management console for ease of setup and monitoring
  • Ability to scale easily as your organisation grows
  • Output backup jobs to multiple locations; ensuring 3-2-1 protection
  • An open strategy platform which allows easy integration of future features - such as cybersecurity and data visualisation products.

COOLSPIRiT has been helping organisations ensure the protection of their data for over 20 years. If you already run or are looking to implement an HCI environment, be sure to speak with our expert team who will guide you through options to deliver solutions that deliver technically and commercially while meeting all your business requirements. 

We would like to thank Paul Brunyee of Arcserve for his invaluable expert thoughts and insight - helping to create this blog series.

If you would like to talk simply call our expert team on 01246 454 222 or email hello@coolspirit.co.uk

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